Birthday Speech Writing: Tips for an Unforgettable Speech

, Staff Writer
Updated November 3, 2020
birthday speech writing
    woman giving birthday speech
    Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Cultura / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

Writing a great birthday speech requires you to have a great topic and to deliver the information in a way that will capture the attention of the audience. It is not difficult to write a birthday speech if you follow some well-tested tips.

Tips on Birthday Speech Writing

Birthday celebrations are good times to celebrate life, friends and family. A great speech or toast can have a lasting impression and be an appreciated gift. Here are some tips to help your speech or toast become an enduring and perfect gift.

Do Your Research About the Birthday Party

Before sitting down to write your speech, find out some important information about the event, such as the following details.

  • Who is coming? Will the party be family only, or will friends also be invited? You may want to ask close friends or family members if there is anything in particular they want included in your speech.
  • Will the birthday party be formal or informal?
  • Will you be the only speaker? If you are not the only speaker, ask about the speaking order and think about what the others are likely to talk about.
  • How long will you be expected to speak?

Consider the Tone of Your Birthday Speech

A speech for a birthday party should be light, entertaining and positive. Your language should be PG-rated, unless it is a very small group of close friends. Even then, you should not get too risqué or personal.

Organize the Content of Your Speech

You should organize your speech before you begin writing. You need an introduction, body and conclusion.

  • introduction - Capture the audience’s attention with a fun anecdote, little joke or quote. The birthday speech introduction can include thanking everyone for coming and their gifts, thanking the person who asked you to make a speech, and thanking the people who planned the party. You might think about thanking the host for your invitation and congratulating the guest of honor.
  • body - In the body of your speech, you’ll cover the main points. This could be anything from memories you’ve shared with the guest of honor to wishes for the future.
  • conclusion - You may want to end with a toast. You can sum up the speech, thank everyone again and congratulate the guest of honor, or toast to the honoree's health.

Keep Your Birthday Speech Short

The exact length of your birthday speech will depend on the party and the situation. However, it’s best to keep your speech to under 10 minutes. Birthday speech writing should be concise and memorable.

Practice Giving the Birthday Speech

Write your speech on index cards or cue cards and practice it a few times. Are there places you stumble? Does the flow of the speech get interrupted at any point? Take some time to revise these problem areas so the speech will be polished and perfect for the big day.

Tips and Ideas for Using Jokes and Quotes in Birthday Speeches

Jokes and quotes can help make your birthday speech entertaining. They are a great way to start off your speech or transition into a birthday toast. Keep these tips in mind when you use jokes and quotes in your birthday speech.

  • Use only one or two jokes in a speech. The speech should be about the guest of honor, not just about getting a laugh.
  • Use quotes sparingly. One quote is plenty for an entire speech.
  • Remember, it is proper to mention the author of the quote in your speech.

Ideas for Jokes

Starting your speech with a joke allows you to set the mood. Here are some examples to try.

  • Speech-making is like prospecting. If you don't strike oil in 10 minutes, stop boring.
  • The best speech makers follow three simple rules: Stand up, speak up, and then very quickly, shut up.
  • How do turtles spend their birthdays? Shellebrating!
  • I know you couldn’t possibly want any other gifts, since being related to me is the best give you could receive.

Ideas for Birthday Quotes

Here are some examples of entertaining birthday quotes.

  • "Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." - Mark Twain
  • "A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age." - Robert Frost
  • "Middle age is when you still believe you'll feel better in the morning." - Bob Hope
  • "The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." - Lucille Ball
  • "Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children." - George Bernard Shaw

Tips for Choosing a Topic for a Birthday Speech

Finding a great topic is important, and these tips can help. Here is a list of potential topics to talk about in your speech. These are just suggestions, so you can use as many as you wish.

Talk About the Past

Your shared past makes a great speech topic. Reminisce about shared experiences or milestones, especially funny ones. Look back to this day in history for interesting things that happened. This could be interesting to the guests. You could mention the circumstances of the birth of the honoree.

Discuss The Party and Guest of Honor

Mention any special circumstances, like an age milestone, how many people are there, or the setting of the party. Summarize the honoree's interests, talents, achievements, or hobbies. A very brief summary of his or her life could work, too.


Consider Gentle Teasing

You could "roast" the guest of honor a bit, as long as it is just slight teasing. This is best for people you know really well, such as close friends or family members. Don't say anything too embarrassing.

Talk About the Future

You can use your birthday speech to mention any hopes or desires of the honoree. Be positive and supportive.

Birthday Speech Example

If you need some inspiration as you write a birthday speech, this example can help. You can use it as a starting point to write a speech for your own event.

As soon as I was asked to give a speech for Jennifer’s birthday, I knew I couldn’t refuse. We’ve been friends since preschool, and fortunately, she’s come a long way from the little girl who used to eat paste and lie about it to the teacher. Through some twist of fate or karma, now she’s a teacher herself!

People complain about aging, but there’s a lot to be said about the wisdom we gain from living in this world for many years. Jennifer embodies that wisdom. She’s helped hundreds of first graders learn to read, opening an entire world of literary magic for their young minds. She has raised two beautiful children, now adults, and she’s preparing to welcome her first grandchild in May. But the way that Jennifer has really demonstrated her wisdom is in her response to challenge and change.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, Jennifer acknowledged her fear and feelings but kept such a positive attitude that she inspired her family and friends. Her laughter and zest for life helped her get through the ordeal, and she has come out the other side stronger than ever.

When those of us who love her look at Jennifer, we realize that aging is a gift. We truly celebrate with her as she turns 60. Please join me in raising your glasses to wish Jennifer a happy birthday!


Make It a Memorable Speech

Knowing how to write a birthday speech is easy if you think about what makes the guest of honor special. Before the event, review some tips for giving a great speech. The honoree and your audience will thank you.